How to ruin a country’s economy: AKP’s 15 year long order of plunder and depredation in Turkey

Although Turkey’s government relates problems of national economy to foreign factors, practices and regulations applied throughout the past 15 years clearly demonstrate how the state’s sources have been wasted under AKP rule.

BİRGÜN DAİLY 06.12.2016 16:35
How to ruin a country’s economy: AKP’s 15 year long order of plunder and depredation in Turkey
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As the value of dollar against lira has raised full-speed, problems with Turkey’s economy have become one of the top agenda topics for the public. The problems experienced in economy are actually results of irresponsible and plundering policies of AKP. Having been acting in line with the interests of the capital holders, AKP governments have presented state’s resources to its supporters as ‘benefits available’, while pushing the public into further poverty.

Money was so ‘hot’ that production was forgotten

In the country, production has been replaced with ‘hot money.’ AKP had last increased interest rates in 2006; however, with the latest crisis it has been facing, it has put in place the method of ‘cash growth’. When interest was kept at a low rate in the USA during the early 2000’s, hot money had come into developing countries as a result of the flow of global capital. In countries such as ours, where interest rates were high, this flow of hot money was experienced especially at high volumes. AKP government went through these times in absolute ‘dissipation.’

Submission to IMF continued

Public resources have been presented to followers and foreign capitalists as benefits available. In Turkey, public production has been blocked and an economy that is dependent on capital and the markets has been created. Parallel to the IMP program, the Central Bank of Turkey has also been turned into an independent agency. And, as forex rates were also let free in Turkey following the 2001 economic crisis, what is now referred to as ‘interest rate lobby’ has become the ‘market itself.’

Public institutions were turned into ‘benefits available to followers’

Turkey’s critical equities such as TÜPRAŞ and Türk Telekom were presented to followers and capitalist sources as ‘benefits available.’ TÜPRAŞ was privatized in 2007 in the value of 4.14 billion dollars (5.42 billion TL). Since the completion of privatization at that time, TÜPRAŞ has gained profits totaling up to 13 billion TL. On the other hand, an even heavier strike came with Türk Telekom. While the value of the firm was calculated to be 40 billion dollar in 2005, it was deemed as 11 billion dollars and 55% of share was sold to Oger Telecom for 6.5 billion dollar. According to findings of research on this, the damage of this firm to Turkey’s state throughout 21 years will be over 90 billion dollars.

Turkey was portrayed as an ‘attraction point’ for corporations

Mines were also sold out; factories of copper, silver, and aluminum were rapidly privatized. The doors of the state were opened to the international corporations completely. Turkey was portrayed to transnational corporations as an ‘attraction point’. However, when the government ran out of things to sell out, state-supported wacky projects were put in place, such as creating non-existing islands, building bridges and highways that nobody would cross, and doing mega-giant businesses… Firms were interested in such projects because of the guarantee of the state. However, under crisis, this guarantee has also begun to be questioned.

Followers loaded up their cases

No strategy has been determined for production. The construction sector, in which the supporters of AKP are active, has been designated as the engine for economic growth. The fact that the network of AKP had great influence on this sector also boosted the bribery mechanism and worked to the advantage of the government. Firms such as Cengiz, Kolin, and Limak loaded up their cases quickly with tenders in construction projects and energy fields. Green lands and areas under state protection were put up for tenders; and, this depredation of nature was presented to the firms as an opportunity. Heads of firms were brought to a point of submission in order to be able to take advantage of such opportunities. And, those who would not obey were punished.

Farmers were offended

As fields for agriculture were turned into lands for construction, agriculture and stockbreeding regressed. Free market economy in agriculture sector caused monopolies of fertilizer and animal feed firms to emerge. State issued high taxes on fuels for the farmers. Expenses of the farmers increased speedily. Furthermore, low prices offered to farmers by these monopolies offended the farmers. As warehouses of state were sold, products began to be transferred to hoarders. Consequently, farmers came to a point where they could no longer afford a living in their villages, so, migration from countryside to cities stood as an option.

Foreign firms began to sell products that they got manufactured in Turkey for low costs under their brand names. Since stockbreeding did not get any support, importing of meat also increased. Angus cattle were imported from places as remote as Australia and Uruguay. While Turkey used to be proud of its exports of wheat and chickpea, it has become a country importing these crops, too.

Production was trivialized

While the economic growth that was mainly based on construction ruined the environment, it also had no positive impact on production since it was not sufficiently related to technology, knowledge, and overall progress. Even the heavy metal industry, which was expected to have a high input, had only an 8% of share within the sector. The share of the export of high technology items also could not go over 3%. Therefore, instead of products with high surpluses, items with low export value developed.

People were burdened with debt

While welfare was not managed to be achieved in economy, citizens were also excessively burdened with debt under AKP rule. Bank debts of people in Turkey were 6.6 billion TL in 2002; it increased to 385 billion TL by the end of 2015. Consumer loan debt increased 135 times; credit card debt increased 18 times.

Erdoğan and his ‘staff’, who threw the country to the arms of the global firms with these policies and tossed around its equities by saying ‘we will sell it all’, are not unable to prevent dollar from skyrocket. When the USA shifts from zero interest to an increase in interest rates, hot money begins to flow to USA. Meanwhile, the only thing that AKP officials are telling the people of Turkey is for them to exchange their dollars to lira. When a country’s economy is not independent, its politics cannot be, either!


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